Thursday, April 11, 2019

Hello Buntamaniacs! It's been forever since my last post. I think my last piece was about Cliff Lee to give you a time frame. So..Let's jump right in.

WE GOT HARPER!...WE GOT HARPER!  Could this off season have gone any better? Segura, McCuthchen, Realmuto and the $330 Million Dollar Man. Wow! If you predicted that kind of talent coming here your friends would sit you down for an intervention. And could Bryce Harper be any cooler? He has really embraced this city. So much for "He wants to play on the West coast", "He wants to stay in DC", "He wants to opt out after 3 years". So glad all that rumor mill was nonsense. He is here for 13 years, let's enjoy! 

As someone who has suffered some pretty lean years down at Citizens Bank Park, I can say the bandwagon is filling up. The ballpark has been electric so far. Lines, lines and more lines...And that's just for the Men's Room. Since CBP is the new hot spot again, the wife and I took my 8 year old son and 4 friends to Sunday's matinee vs the Twins. It was the Birthday Boy's request.

First things first, if an 8 year old gets away from you, saying "He's wearing a red Harper t-shirt" is not very helpful to the search party. Harper, Harper everywhere. I'd say 80% of all patrons are wearing a freshly printed Harper T or jersey. It is a sea of 3s. There is still a spattering of Howard, Utley and the occasional Werth but not like in years past. The future is here.

The staff at CBP needs some training. They may not be use to the volume of fans if they are new but they should know where the Sunblock stations are. I asked no less than 5 employees where a station was and they were either clueless or very vague. I even asked in the First Aid room, they looked at me like I asked them if going with Neris as our closer was a good idea. Weak sauce, get it together people.   

The beer selection may be off. I did not embibe as I had a bunch of kids to watch but it seems that the selection is down from years past. I need more research but that is for a future post.

The Yard! The perfect spot to corral 6 kids and not worry too much. Our group was pretty good, we got to see 6 innings from our seats. They got itchy so we were at The Yard later in the game. It was cool to see the reaction of 100 kids when Hoskins hit that go ahead Home Run. The wiffle ball field went nuts! Seeing them jump up and down, going crazy as they saw it on the big screen made our day. Also, a public service announcement...Attention helicopter parents, you DO NOT need to be on the field with your kids as they shag wiffle balls. Kids only! Cut the cord already!  

Lastly, my personal pet peeve. Wearing jeans on a sun soaked day is gross. Yesterday was borderline but let's break out the shorts from June on.


Keep It Classy, Philly!


Thursday, April 4, 2019

View From the Left Coast by a Lefty: Expectations

Wow, been a long time since I could barely wait for Opening Day. Anybody who says they don't have expectations this year is full of it. This is the best lineup the Phils have fielded in nearly a decade. I was beginning to think there might not be a chance for another World Series in my lifetime if there was another 25 year wait. But Mr. Klentak came through with a giant assist from Monty, his wife, and their plane.

This lineup is stacked with the perfect aquisitions. I honestly think the key pickup was Realmuto because it helped sign Harper big time. Doesn't hurt that he is arguably the best catcher in baseball. The trade for Segura was also key because it rid the team of Santana and Crawford, adding a proven all star and allowing Hoskins to return to 1B. McCutchen was also a great pickup that leads to lineup flexibility. But the real key is the last 3 hitters. It's time for Odubel to get smart and mature and really show his talent. He can be a top 10 hitter. If Cesar cuts down his strikeouts he too can be an all star. However Franco has the chance to cement everything. It's time he realizes if he cuts down his swing he can be as dangerous as Hoskins and use the entire field. If he reverts back to swigning out of his helmet then Klentak will be looking for a third baseman by the end of June.

The bench has the potential to be great. As long as Kapler doesn't try to be Tony Larussa and average 2 double switches a game it is more than adequate. That said, somebody *PLEASE* burn that damn notebook. Side note: Knapp takes the next step... he is ready.

With all of this it's still pitching that will decide the season. This rotation is markedly better than the one the WS champs had. Nola is Nola. If Arrieta comes even close to his Cy Young form he'll earn his money. Pivetta, Eflin, and Eickhoff are ready for the next step. A fast start is necessary to install confidence in the kids who are really due to step up. With Robertson and Seranthony Closing should not be an issue. The rest of the pen is solid(on paper) and should be one of the tops in baseball. That said, the biggest question mark is Velasquez. What do you do with him? He folds with runners on base and a high pitch count gets even higher. Do you make him a reliever? Do you pull an Ankeil and make him an outfielder? He is a great athlete and was a stud hitter in high school. Who knows with him?

All in all this all leads to one thing... EXPECTATIONS. Mine are so high I even may be able to see comebacks here by Kornhole, DGirl, and maybe even DB29. Nah, never gonna happen. I do expect at least 1 or 2 Wriz Wednesdays this year because baseball is back and in the air. The Bank will be a lot more crowded and louder(hopefully) than previous years. Philly demands a winner. I demand a winner. And just maybe this team can deliver.  #BelieveTheHype #LetsGetBunted

                         Bill S/aka netfather